Fédération Européenne des Cités Napoléonienne

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The city of Castiglion Fiorentino has a double connection with the history of the Napoleonic Europe. On the one hand , inside its most important historical jewel: the Castello del Cassero which contains a collection of commemorative medals, tokens and recognition badges, unique in Europe and perhaps all over the world; on the other hand, the countryside around the city saw the birth of the anti-French motion called "Viva Maria" in the spring of 1799, and the Battle of Rigutino was fought under its walls. The local rioters opposed the Franco-Polish troops led by General Dabrowski.

The Medal collection museum, is housed inside the medieval prison of the Cassero, develops itself into a diachronic way along four rooms, reconstructing the main events and European characters in the years ranging from the convening of the General States to the Congress of Vienna.

With over one thousand exhibits, the Medal collection museum makes it possible to make a journey through European history not only through great events but also by immersing oneself in the society of the time. In fact, the presence of the recognition badges worn by the revolutionary public officials as well as the tokens of presence of the main cultural institutions of Europe allow us to understand how the Napoleonic years were not just war and battles.

Strolling through the museum halls, lovers of Napoleonic history will be able to understand how contemporaries considered and interpreted the facts and characters that today are the protagonists of History. All the specimens present at the museum are original and contemporary; the choice of subjects, themes and representations is an expression of the tastes and opinions of the time. For example, medals are minted in various European countries to celebrate or denigrate the achievements of the French Revolution.

Even the Napoleonic epic events are illustrated not only from the French point of view but also from that of the other nations which tried with all their forces to oppose them. For example, the stately section dedicated to the medals with which England celebrated the naval victories against the French fleet or the German ones dedicated to the liberation war in 1813.

The choice to set up the museum in Castiglion Fiorentino is not accidental but stems from the desire to choose a place that already had a historical reference to the Napoleonic era.

The motion of the Viva Maria, an expression of the same religious sensibilities that gave life to the Vendean movements in France during the revolution and then to the guerrillas in Spain during the Empire, was the last shock of a rural society that had difficulty in accepting to abandon the rules of the ancien regime to enter modernity.

Even from a military point of view, the battle of Rigutino of May 14th, 1799, is the only military event that occurred in Tuscany during the Napoleonic period. He saw opposing some hundreds of commoners to over four thousand soldiers of the Polish legion sent from Rome to Tuscany to quell the riots and revolts that threatened Republican-style local governments.

Adjacent to the museum, there is the small Battle Museum in which original local documents, prints, illustrations and sketches, allow to understand the reasons for the popular uprisings and how the day of the battle of Rigutino took place.

The city of Castiglion Fiorentino is also a treasure trove of history and culture as evidenced by its museum system consisting of the excavations annexed to the archaeological museum, the picture gallery and the ancient municipal library.

The whole museum complex is housed in the ancient castle located in the highest part of the city from whose tower you can enjoy a magnificent view over the whole Valdichiana.

In the heart of Tuscany, a few kilometers from Arezzo, Cortona and Perugia as well as 80km. from Florence and 50km from Siena, Castiglion Fiorentino offers a wealth of historical beauties ranging from Etruscan antiquity to the modern age. For example, the works by Bartolomeo della Gatta or the Busto di Sant'Orsola are examples of great skill in silversmithing.



Copyright photos: Mrs. Giancarla Faralli

Castiglion Fiorentino